On a recent weekend getaway at a lake, I was challenged by some brothers to drink fifty beers in one day, which I had never even tried to come close to before. I’m the kind of guy that will usually have 7-10 brews to get a decent drunk going, then not much else after that. I guess I’m just getting older. However, on this particular occasion I completed the challenge and accomplished the goal of putting down 50 beers. That’s not the highlight of this story, though. It’s not really that great of an accomplishment, and I bet 85% of people reading this could do the same thing. I started drinking around 9:00am and finished shortly before midnight. 50 beers in 15 hours is barely more than three beers an hour. The only difficult part is how the beers really start to get to you around the halfway point, and things only escalate from there.
From the accounts of those that were with me as I was completing this challenge, the words I was saying stopped making much sense around beer 40. That sounds about right to me, as I don’t remember anything beyond that point. A few great brothers forced me to finish the challenge , and it was off to bed for me. I woke up early the next day, slowly opening my eyes and trying to make sense of the world around me. If you had asked me what year it was at the moment I woke up, I’m not sure I would have been able to tell you. I was still piss-drunk, so I decided to keep lying down in my room until I felt better. It was right then that I heard two muffled voices from the floor above me. They belonged to women who had been partying with us the night before.
“Yeah, I think he was trying to drink 50 beers or something. That’s why it happened.”
“You can’t actually be serious. He wouldn’t do that.”
“I don’t know, I’ve heard it from like three people so far.”
What the hell were they talking about?
“Never thought I’d see the day when WJ would shit himself.”
Panicking, I quickly did the necessary checks. No, I hadn’t shit myself. And I had no reason to believe that I’d so much as moved a muscle in the last seven hours. My date for the lake trip then walked into the room, and I grabbed her and demanded to know if I’d messed myself. She told me no, and that it was a joke that a brother had made up. Not only did he tell everyone we were with that I had shit myself, he also grabbed the radio on one of our boats and told the people on at least five different frequencies the same news. The entire lake had heard. It took everything I had to finally walk out of the room and face everyone outside, but I brought myself to take that plunge. I felt like I was in The Scarlet Letter, but instead of a red letter A embroidered to my chest, there was a big, brown S hovering over me wherever I went. I had done nothing wrong, but felt all the shame as if I had.
As the day went on, I tried less and less to hide from the world. I had been framed for a terrible offense, and no amount of talking could get me out of it. I walked with my tail between my legs, my pride whittled down to nothing, for the entire day. There was no point in trying to clear my name. The damage had already been done, and I’d be kidding myself if I thought that anything I could do for the rest of the trip would help guide me to redemption. In the evening, I went off and posted up by the shore to gather my thoughts. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and looked up to see Allan, the brother who had initially spread the rumor. At this point, I wasn’t even angry at him anymore.
“What do you want, man? Haven’t you done enough?” I said.
“WJ, I know you didn’t shit yourself. We all do. You’re a good guy.”
He got up and left. That’s when I realized something. This was never about the shit. It was about a lesson that I needed to learn. Here I was, all this time, worrying about how I looked to the people that already loved me for who I was. They still cared about me, whether I shit myself or not. Along with this realization came the knowledge that the shit is now part of me, whether or not it was ever real. When someone has been broken down to their components and left for the wolves, shit is all they have to go on.
I, WJ, DID poo myself that day. And I’m proud. .